Speaking of Memorial Day and being a “New Englander” I had the opportunity to take part in a great event this morning called the “one run.” It was a symbolic event designed to give those runners who had their Boston Marathon cut short a chance to finish the race. I did not run the marathon but had the opportunity to take part in the one mile course from Kenmore Square to the actual finish line on Boylston Street. It wasn’t a traditional race in the aspect that people were trying to win or post a great time, but rather to take in the atmosphere and gain some closure to the events of that faithful day. It was very well-organized and quite inspirational with volunteers all along the route cheering on the runners and growing in intensity as we neared the finish line. I can only imagine the euphoria that marathon runners feel as they cross the finish line to throngs of cheering spectators.
Before the run began numerous speakers gave out words of encouragement and echoed how important it was to have this day for finishing the race. Flags were presented representing the four victims home nations to flag bearers who would set the pace and lead the runners to the finish line. In an emotional moment Martin Richard’s school choir sang the National Anthem and it was hard not to get misty eyed. As I mentioned before the race itself was like nothing I’ve experienced, being able to run along the marathon route in the streets of Boston was pretty special. All of the runners were in the friendliest of spirits and there was a great cohesion among everyone.
At the finish line people were filled with an elation not often seen in everyday life and rightfully so. Waves of runners poured in and were snapping pictures like mad just trying to take as much of the moment with them as possible. I was fortunate enough by chance to meet Sean Collier’s father, a man whose strength in what must have been an overly emotional morning was inspiring and comforting, yeah he can get through this too.
The events of that day will still take time to heal for some and for others they will always have a lasting impact on their lives. But this event was about moving forward, something that this country is so great at. Getting beyond the day and putting it behind us. We do not forget what happened, we carry it with us in our memory and learn to live with it, not letting it stop us from chasing our dreams and living the lives that we imagined. And that’s what this event was all about, remembering what happened but moving forward, always moving forward.